There's nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool's Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped
Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of it. That's why she's opening her own store in Fool's Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that's magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.
Gabriel's memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugarplums, thanks to his drill sergeant father. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from an injury sounds as appetizing as last year's eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can't stop sharing.
Gabriel didn't think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse .
About the Author
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our livesfamily, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
Read an Excerpt
In real life, snow was not nearly as delightful as it appeared in movies and on TV, Noelle Perkins thought as her spinning car finally came to a stop in a snowbank. She'd been driving up the side of the mountain, not making any sudden moves, when it happened. Although she wasn't exactly sure what the it was. There'd been a swoosh and a swerve and then the world twirling around her. There might have been a scream or two, but as she was alone, she wasn't going to admit to that.
She glanced around, noticing how the nose of her car was firmly planted in the wall of a surprisingly firm drift. The good news was she was pretty close to her destination. The bad news was she was going to have to figure out a way to get down the mountain when it was time to leave.
That was for later, she told herself as she turned off the engine then unfastened her seat belt. First she had a puppy to let out.
Noelle opened the door and started to stand, only to discover why her car had gone whirling around. Snow, it seemed, was slippery. Her feet started to go out from under her and she had to grab the door frame to keep from falling.
"This is so wrong," she murmured, finding her balance and carefully closing the car door. She started walking very tentatively toward the house at the end of the long driveway.
Snow had come early to Fool's Gold. There had been several inches in late October, then it had all gone away. More had fallen in early November and now this blast the following week. But it was different in town, she thought as she felt her left foot slowly sliding out from under her.
She waved her arms and managed to stay on her feet, then started forward again. In town, roads were plowed and sidewalks scraped. Someone put magical stuff down so it wasn't slippery. She never had any trouble in town.
Growing up in Florida, followed by a career move to Los Angeles, had not prepared her for a real winter, she thought as she made it to the porch. Her feet started slipping again. She lunged for the railing and managed to hang on as her lower body slipped and stretched until she was nearly parallel to the ground.
She dug her toes into the snow and ice, hoping to find some traction. At last she managed to get her legs back under her and straighten. It was like being a cartoon character, she thought grimly. Only with the possibility of breaking bones.
"This is so not what I expected," she said aloud, thinking that Felicia's request had seemed so reasonable. With everyone running around, Webster, her friend's eight-month-old puppy, had been left home alone. Could Noelle go and let him out?
Felicia had been a good friend to Noelle. When No-elle had opened her own storeThe Christmas Atticover Labor Day weekend, Felicia had been right there, helping stock the place and offering suggestions. When Noelle wanted to participate in town advertising with the other local retailers, Felicia had helped her navigate the maze that was local government regulations. When Noelle worried that she would never find a man for well, you know, let alone love, Felicia had reassured her that it would happen. So helping with the family puppy seemed the least she could do to pay back her friend.
"I am capable," Noelle told herself as she made it up the stairs. They were surprisingly not slippery. Whatever that magic stuff was, they must use it here, she thought.
She walked to planters on the railing and felt around for the spare key. Only there wasn't one. She checked all the planters, sure that was where Felicia had told her to look.
Unsure what to do next, she walked to the front door and heard a soft snuffling sound.
"Hey, Webster," she called.
The puppy yipped excitedly.
Noelle reached for the door handle and found it turned easily. She pushed it open.
Two things happened at once. A very excited fifty-pound German shepherd puppy bounded out toward her and she saw a duffel bag in the foyer.
Noelle automatically patted the enthusiastic dog. He licked her hands and wiggled before dashing down the stairs and heading for the trees on the side to take care of business.
"It's slippery," she called after him, only to realize he had magical feet because he returned at the same hyperspeed with which he'd left and never skidded once.
"Good boy," she said, hugging him.
Problem one solved, she thought. Which only left the mysterious duffel and the open front door.
The bag could be Carter's, she thought, picturing Gideon's thirteen-year-old son. Or it could be the proof that some evildoer had broken into the house and was, even as she stood there, ransacking the place. Either way, she had to find out.
She stepped cautiously inside, the eager dog at her side. By the front door was an umbrella stand. She grabbed the biggest, most threatening umbrella she saw and held it in her hands like a club. She was tough, she told herself. After all, she'd taken a self-defense class earlier that fall. Of course her instructor had warned them all against walking toward trouble.
"If you're in here to steal stuff, I've called the police and I'm heavily armed," she yelled as she walked through the open area of the main floor. There was a big living room and a huge kitchen. She knew there were bedrooms at each end of the house and more living space downstairs.
Webster enjoyed the game, staying at her side, his wagging tail thumping against the wall at regular intervals.
"Just walk out with your hands up and no one will get hurt," she continued.
She paused, listening. There was a sound from the hallway. She turned, umbrella poised. If necessary, she would hit the guy, then run. She was pretty sure Webster would run with her, thinking this was just more happy puppy fun.
The bathroom door opened and a guy stepped out. A tall guy wearing nothing but jeans. He had a towel in one hand and was using it to rub his just washed hair. In fact, staring at the tall, well-muscled man, Noelle would guess he'd just washed the rest of himself, too.
She paused in the middle of the hallway as several thoughts moved through her brain. First, few burglars bothered to shower while on the job. She didn't have actual working knowledge of that as fact, but was willing to assume it was true. Second, while she knew she'd never seen the man before, something about him was familiar. Third, he was really handsome, with light brown hair and dark blue eyes. And had she already mentioned the body to her brain? Because it was good, too.
They stared at each other and she remembered her list. Right. Fourth Her gaze dropped and she swallowed. He had a nasty-looking cut on his left handcomplete with raw flesh, black thread from stitches and
"Oh, no," she whispered as the edges of her consciousness seemed to fold in on herself. "Not blood. Anything but blood."
For someone who had been through what she had, it was pretty funny that the sight of blood made her woozy, but there it was. Life with a sense of humor. Her stomach roiled, her skin got clammy and she knew she was about an eighth of a second from crumpling to her knees. If that happened, she didn't think Webster was up to saving her.
She bent down to shorten the distance to the floor and hopefully save herself from a lasting brain injury.
Gabriel Boylan stared at the half-collapsed blonde. "This is why I hate the suburbs," he told her as he dropped his towel and moved toward her.
"Can you hear me?" he asked, speaking loudly.
She waved toward his hand. "Keep that away from me."
Her voice was weak and she seemed to be swaying. He swore under his breath, noticing even as she started to go down that she was still brandishing that ridiculous umbrella in his direction. Great. His brother had fallen for someone insane.
He grabbed the umbrella and twisted it out of her grip, then lowered her the rest of the way to the floor. She groaned. He took in her paleness and rapid breathing and figured she was close to fainting.
The annoyed, I-really-don't-like-people side of him wanted to let it happen. At least unconscious she would be less trouble. But the doctor in him knew that wasn't the right decision. He shifted her so she was on her knees, then pushed her head down.
"Head lower than the heart," he told her. "Slow your breathing. You're fine."
"You can't know that," she managed to say.
"Want to bet?"
When it seemed like she was going to stay conscious, he returned to the bathroom and quickly wrapped his left hand. The deep cut was still tender and oozing. He was luckyhe'd been stupid to get injured in the first place, but while it was ugly, no permanent damage had been done. A good thing considering he needed his hands to make a living.
When the tape was secure, he shrugged into a clean, long-sleeved T-shirt, then walked back into the hallway.
The woman had straightened and was staring up at him. Her gaze dropped to his hand, then darted away.
"Thank you for covering up," she said, her voice low.
He assumed she meant the wound and not his chest. "You're welcome."
The puppy settled next to her, leaning heavily on her, ready for the next round of whatever it was they were playing.
"You're sensitive to blood," Gabriel said.
The woman winced. "I know. It's ridiculous. I always have been. You'd think I would get over it, but no. Oddly, I can deal with getting a shot, as long as there's no bleeding. Otherwise, I have to close my eyes." She drew in a breath, then looked at him. "Who are you?"
Gabriel frowned. "Gideon didn't tell you?"
"I haven't talked to him recently." She paused, as if trying to remember how long it had been. "I guess I've seen him in town but we haven't spoken."
Now Gabriel was confused. "You're not Felicia?"
The woman scrambled to her feet. She was a tall blondetoo skinny for his taste, but pretty enough. She wore black jeans and a ridiculous sweater decorated with tiny Santa heads. Like he'd said beforethe suburbs sucked.
"No, I'm Noelle," she said. "Who are you?"
He was going to say more but her blue eyes widened. "Gideon's brother?"
He nodded, unable to figure out why someone he'd never heard of was chasing people with an umbrella in his brother's house. Not that there was an appropriate place for that sort of thing.
She smiled. Whatever else he was going to grumble about faded as her mouth curved. Because the second she smiled, he felt a whole lot better about nearly everything. His hand hurt less, he wasn't as tired and the avalanche of regret he felt at showing up in Fool's Gold reduced itself to a small rock-slide.
Talk about a trick.
The smile widened. "Oh, wow. I didn't know you were coming for sure. You're the doctor, right? Felicia mentioned she'd asked you to stay for the holidays, but I thought you'd said you couldn't make it. I'm Noelle Perkins. Felicia and I are friends. I have a store in town and I know Gideon, of course. And Carter."
The son his brother hadn't known he had, Gabriel thought. There was a situation.
"Gideon and Carter are shopping in Sacramento. Felicia got stuck in town and asked me to come and let Webster out." Her smile faded. "Oh, no. I attacked you. I'm really sorry."
"It's okay," he told her. Mostly because it was and partially because he wanted to see the smile again.
"I couldn't figure out why the door was open and the spare key wasn't where she'd said."
"Gideon told me about the key, too, and I used it."
The smile returned and his breathing relaxed.
She bent down and collected the umbrella. "I took a self-defense course a few weeks ago. Just a Saturday afternoon of basic stuff. My instructor would so kill me if she knew what I'd done, so if you could not say anything I'd appreciate it."
"Not a problem."
She glanced quickly at the bandage, then away. "Um, what happened to your palm?"
"I was an idiot."
"It happens to all of us."
"I should know better."
She flashed the smile again. "And the rest of us shouldn't?"
"Fair point," he told her.
She waved the umbrella. "I'll put this back." She started down the hall. "Do you want some coffee?"
She went into the kitchen and pulled out mugs and two small pods filled with coffee as if she knew her way around the place.
He was still having trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that his brother was engaged and had a son. Not that the two events were related. Carter's mother had died a couple of years ago. As for Felicia Gabriel frowned as he realized he didn't know how she and his brother had met. The fact that he hadn't spoken to anyone in his family in over a year might have something to do with that.
Webster followed Noelle and looked hopeful as she collected spoons and started the coffeemaker. She eyed him.
"I'm pretty sure you've already been fed," she told the dog.
He wagged his tail.
She sighed. "You're so demanding. Fine. I'll give you a cookie."
Webster woofed at the word and followed her to the pantry, where a plastic container of bone-shaped treats sat on a shelf.
"But just one," she told him, waiting until he sat to give it to him.
He took it gently and bolted from the room.
Gabriel watched him go. "He's not much of a guard dog. He let me in without a growl."
"He's a puppy," Noelle said. "Felicia wants him to be friendly rather than aggressive. He's supposed to be Carter's dog, but she's the one who takes care of him. He's been to a few obedience classes but they don't seem to be taking."
She motioned to the large table, and he moved forward to take a seat. Noelle added the first pod and pushed the button, making sure the mug was positioned underneath.
She leaned against the counter. "So, you're here for the holidays. To be with your family. That's nice."
"I haven't seen them in a while," he admitted, trying to remember the last time he'd joined his parents and brother for Christmas. More than a decade, he thought. Fifteen years? Longer than that? Maybe it had been before he'd left for college. "Feel free to fill me in on what I've missed."
"I've never met your parents," she said cheerfully. "I know Gideon, of course. He moved here before me. It was last year. I just got here in the spring." She wrinkled her nose. "It was before the whole snow thing. I'm going to have to take some lessons or something. It's a lot more slippery than I realized. I know there's an ice element, but I didn't think it was, you know ice." She made air quotes as she spoke the last word.
He chuckled. "You have a lot to look forward to."
"You mean aside from warmer weather?" She turned back to the coffeemaker and pulled out the mug. "How do you like it?" she asked, already moving to the refrigerator.
"Black is fine."
"That's such a guy thing."
She pulled out a container of flavored coffee creamer, then handed him his mug and returned to the counter. She obviously knew her way around the kitchen. Because of Felicia, he told himself. Women who were friends hung out a lot doing stuff like having coffee. He supposed it wasn't that different from going out and having a drink.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read all of the Fool's Gold books to date and I always feel like I'm coming home when I read them. Love Noelle who is so strong and has overcome so much. Gabriel is such a great guy but doesn't think he deserves love. That he will never be what Noelle is looking for. She was strong enough to say what she deserved. Even if it broke her heart, she knew life was too short and that she wanted to be loved like she deserved to be loved. Always heartwarming to me that all the ladies in Fools Gold show up at the door of the person that most needs them to surround them with support (and alcohol)! We should all hope to have friends like that in our lives.
Christmas can be a magical time of year. At least that’s the way Noelle Perkins sees it, especially since her store – The Christmas Attic – is booming. The charming voice of narrator Tanya Eby enhances this story of family, friends, love and Christmas magic. She gives each character their own unique voice and beautifully articulates their emotions. Given a second chance at life, Noelle tackles each day with a positive outlook. She’s happy with her life just the way it is until she encounters Gabriel Boylan. The handsome Army doctor is visiting his brother in town for the holidays. Recuperating from a hand injury, Gabriel tends to look at life in a negative way. Not wanting to be around his family any more than he just has to, Gabriel goes to work for Noelle helping out in her shop. As the holiday quickly passes, the sparks fly between Noelle and Gabriel. Knowing he’s leaving soon, Noelle can’t stop falling in love with him. Meanwhile, Gabriel battles his own demons of why love would never with Noelle. CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET is another installment in author Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Romance series, but is a standalone story. New readers/listeners to the series aren’t left in the dark by references to characters from earlier stories. This is a lighthearted Christmas story blended with romance and humor for an enchanting adventure. FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
I started the Christmas early extremely early with this wonderful trip to Fool's Gold! I loved Noelle and Gabriel's story. I had never thought of the stress a doctor like Gabriel would have treating soldiers during war. Although Noelle had fought and conquered her own demons, she approaches life with such a positive outlook that she makes the perfect partner for Gabriel. The chemistry is undeniable from first sight and continues right until the end. I anxiously await the next trip to Fool's Gold as well as anywhere else Mallery intends to take me.
Another cute story from Susan Mallery.Gabriel is a great guy but has a lot of family problems. Noelle is a sweet girl that we know and loved in the other books, but now get her own story with love and happiness.
Loved, loved, loved, Nicole and Gabriel’s story! What these two people have gone through before finding each other is just so heartbreaking… And their journey together is not easy either, but you just have to cheer them on through their difficult moments! Can't wait to read more about the Fools Gold residents in upcoming books! Thank you for this great series Susan!
This was a typical cute Fool's Gold story... Girl and guy meet, have a friendship/relationship, girl falls in love, guy gets scared. Guy leaves, girls friends arrive with drinks, guy realizes he screwed up, comes back and they all live happily ever after. I thought it was a nice follow up to the Fool's Gold cookbook. Personally, I can't wait for the full length novels to start up again next summer.
Christmas on 4th Street is a reprint of a Christmas themed story in the Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery. Readers looking for some extra special Christmas cheer for the holidays will love the Christmas setting and Noelle's quaint store, The Christmas Attic. In Mallery's typical happy-ever-after style, this book is perfect in front of a warm fire, with a cozy blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Readers may know that a fairy tale ending is around the corner, but it's all in how you get there. A great Christmas read and a great return to Fool's Gold during Christmas time. What I liked: I've been a fan of Susan Mallery for awhile now and I've read several books in the Fool's Gold series. When I saw this reprint up for review for the holidays, I couldn't resist. Returning to this wonderful small town is always a great adventure. I love the way Mallery incorporates the entire town into every book in this series. Readers who want to catch up previous couples and residents have no trouble finding out something new and readers just starting out will fall in love with Fool's Gold quickly. In this addition to the series, readers who are familiar with Gideon and Felicia will really love meeting Gideon's twin brother, Gabriel. It was nice to catch up with a great couple from the past, while meeting a new and dynamic couple that reverberated off the pages. Gabriel and Noelle, both have issues in their past, that is affecting their present and ultimately their future. Her friends aren't aware of what she's been through and his family, just doesn't understand why he feels the need for distance. It's a great set up for the true meaning of the holiday season. The romance between Noelle and Gabriel was just what I was looking for at Christmas time. He wants to steer clear of his family while he is healing from an injury and ends up working in Noelle's Christmas store. Not exactly where you might think to find a disillusioned military doctor. I liked the fact that Noelle was determined to live every moment like it was her last and the way she was slowly able to instill that same way of looking at life into Gabriel. He needed a new way to look at the world and she gave it to him. Pretty heavy stuff for Christmas season and perfect for this book. This was a typical book for the series. Readers go into reading Susan Mallery's books knowing how they are basically going to go. Woman looks to find the perfect man, woman finds man, man is scared to death, man leaves, man comes back, man and woman live happily-ever-after. There is definitely a formula here, but the thing that sets each of these books apart, is in the details. The little things that make Gabriel and Noelle's story different from the other couples in the series. Her issues with illness and his estrangement from his family. The fact that she owns a Christmas store and he is a military doctor. It's those things that make all the difference! Bottom Line: I may have wanted a little more realism and a little less formula in this book, but that's not say I didn't like it. I knew they'd end up together, so do you, before you even start. What made this one worth the time, was the spirit of this little town, the amazing people that populate it and those wee little things that made it special. It was a great Christmas read!
This was a wonderful story! I enjoyed this book very much!
I loved this book, it had just enough drama with a happy ending. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
The characters are nice and kind. Nice subtle romance. Very enjoyable to read
I enjoyed this book, while it isn't Mallerys best book, it is still worth buying. The characters are likeable, and it takes place around Christmas time which makes it fun and festive. The ending was predicable like most romance novels and it follows a very similar plot to Mallerys other books.
This book was published in 2013 and then again in 2014. I trusted that it was new and bought it. Waste of money and a cruel way for the publisher to make a buck. Shame on you!!
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What a very touching, heartwarming Christmas read. Fool’s Gold is a place of wonder with a mayor who knows what everyone needs even if they do not themselves. It is a place of magic, love, wonderful people and wonderful places that bring you smiles from each new book. Noelle, the owner of The Christmas Attic she sees her glass has half full, had some hard time but lived to tell about it. She loves Christmas, goes out of her way to make those around her happy. She has wonderful friends who go out of their way to help. The one thing she longs for a family, one man who can love only her. Gabriel, Gideon’s twin brother one ex military and the other a doctor in the military. Garbriel has to take a break from the military when he cuts his hand. His glass is always half empty and he doesn’t know how to fill it. He had a love but he watched her die in a horrible way. He has said no to love he can’t live through losing someone close again. He comes home to Fool’s Gold to be with his brother on Christmas, his parents will be there and they do not get along. He has had some trying times in his past but nothing compared to what this town and Noelle is about to put him through. He has a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do. Two people from opposites trying to find their way, both are caring and loving but look at life different. Can these two find what they need most is each other? Time is running out and they still have a long way to go, many lessons to learn. This book like all the Fools’ Gold before is easy to fall in love with. The characters are caring and loving, they look out for their own which brings mean hours of pleasure reading. The book is full of nice clean passion that will leave you saying awww. This is a book of opposites attract and how a town comes together to bring more love into a small town. There is no wonder why people are running join the town. This little town is growing fast with its humor, caring, sharing along with its lovely cast of characters. They is no doubt this author knows how to draw her reads into her wonderful writing style as she takes you through the paces of another day in Fool’s Gold. Her writing is easy to follow as she gives you wonderful tales with heartwarming stories as she makes you feel the pain, lost and wants of her characters. If you haven’t taken the ride on the series of Fool’s Gold I strong recommend you start with book one and work your way through these wonderful stories.
With every one of these stories that I read I fall further and further in love with Susan Mallery & Fool’s Gold. Mallery’s intricately crafted storyline along with her fantastically captivating storytelling will keep you hooked for the long run. I read this novel in little more than a single sitting. The breathtaking yet down to earth descriptions paint a fantastic picture of this loveable town while her inviting narrative draws you further in. And if the story itself wasn’t enough, the characters are absolutely fantastic. Both of the main characters have such intense histories that shaped them and their beliefs. This doesn’t make me pity them, but rather allows you to identify with them and make you love them all the more. They are also well developed, well rounded individuals who are genuinely good people. It was such a fantastic feeling to see them coming together. Having them surrounded the other residents of Fool’s Gold just made the story all the more real. The sense of community and family that pervades the story is astounding. And I mean really… What’s Fool’s Gold without meddling Mayor Marsha, or Eddie and Gladys? As a whole, this was a fantastic novel that really kept me captivated, both emotionally and intellectually. It was a fantastic addition to the series, or something easily read as a standalone, and will most definitely become dog-eared in short order. And for a little something special today… A secret hidden review for Yours for Christmas, the lovely Fool’s Gold novella at the end of the reissue of Christmas on 4th street. A bit of a disclaimer before I start this review. I’ve been dying for this story since Bailey and Kenny first met. The chemistry and actual caring between the two has been building for the last few novels in the series. That said, this one can easily be read as a brilliant standalone that brings out the Christmas spirit as well as the best in all of us. Mallery’s usual well written, easy to love writing style shines through this unique and remarkable story. The characters are fantastic. I fell in love with them all over again in this one. As much as I loved Kenny walking into this one, knowing his full story makes me love him all the more. Bailey’s strength and heart shine through, creating a captivating individual that you can’t help but love. Even in this shorter page count her characters shine through with remarkable clarity and individuality. This doesn’t stop with the main characters, the supporting cast shines as well. The feeling of love between them all is simply amazing. This is definitely one that will bring out the Christmas spirit in all of us. It was a fantastic, quick read that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.